Monday, December 29, 2008

Game 5: Mah Jong

Picture from Kristanix Games.
Game: Mah Jong Epic 1.31 (Kristanix Games)
Platform: Mac
Price: Free - Shareware. There are apparently more features if you pay $20.

My Macbook Pro is my internet portal and occasional multimedia development tool. Playing games on it is not the first activity that comes to mind.

Is the game fun? Why? Mah Jong is essentially a sophisticated pattern-matching game. Very popular with the chinese. This game is gussied up with a soothing loop of Enya and pictures of gorgeous landscapes. The Enya started aggravating me after 4 loops.

Despite the soundtrack (I can only tolerate being "soothed" for so long), there is something meditative about Mah Jong. Match 2 tiles. Repeat until the board is clear. The boards are different enough that each one presents its own challenge. The game is simple enough that you can put your brain essentially on hold and waste hours picking through each of the boards.

Do I want to play this repeatedly? It takes me about 5-10 minutes to get through a board. I could easily see myself turning to this if I needed something to keep myself entertained while watching football or if I needed an activity while I formed my plans to take over the world.

What did I learn playing it? What element(s) can I use when designing a game at work? I'm not sure this game really translate so well to a serious games environment. Unless I figure out how to use it as a form of meditative brainwashing.....

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